President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has embarked on some “serious and influential” lobbying on Capitol Hill in favor of Sinoe County Senator Joseph Nagbe, according to credible reports obtained by the Daily Observer.
Nagbe has thrown his hat in the race for the upcoming President Pro-Tempore Election slated forThursday February 12, to replace former Grand Bassa County Senator Gbehzongar M. Findley who lost the December 2014 Special Senatorial Election to Liberty Party candidate Jonathan Kaipay.
Senator Nagbe, an Alliance for Peace and Democracy (APD) candidate, is being challenged by Unity Party's (UP) Oscar Cooper and National Patriotic Party's (NPP) Armah Jallah, who are being backed by Vice President Joseph N. Boakai and Findley, respectively.
According to sources close to Capitol Building, President Sirleaf has begun soliciting the votes of individual Senators in support of her ‘handpicked’ candidate Joseph Nagbe.
“The President is personally talking with a few of our colleagues through meetings at her house, her Foreign Ministry office and by phone conversation as well.
“Latest of her many phone calls was to Montserrado County Senator Geraldine Doe-Sheriff,” our sources hinted.
According to our sources, the conversation between Madam Sirleaf and Senator Doe-Sheriff lasted for more than an hour with the Head of State making some political commitments.
“She asked the Senator to support Nagbe as her Southeastern colleague and encouraged her because she has age on her side. She promised to reward Madam Doe-Sheriff with the Chairman on Executive position. The President reportedly reminded the Senator about the disadvantages that follow in disagreeing with the Chief Executive and fighting against her interest.
"Madam Doe-Sheriff was reminded about the favor President Sirleaf reciprocated when she (Madam Sirleaf) rewarded former Grand Gedeh County Senator Isaac Nyenabo with an ambassadorial job at the European Union (EU),” our sources said.
"You’re a promising young woman with a brighter future in politics," President Sirleaf was reported to have told the former Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) Senator. “Your political life does not end in the senate; you might need something else after your life as Senator. This is not restricted only to Liberia, Madam Senator. You need international experience which I can strongly support in order for you to represent Liberia out there. You’re among a few Liberian women I admire and believe stand for a purpose and has this country at heart.”
Immediately after the conversation with the President, Senator Doe-Sheriff reportedly informed her colleagues in a meeting held at the home of Bomi County Senator Sando D. Johnson, a strong supporter of candidate Armah Jallah.
Legislative analysts believe the President’s move is an effective strategy as Madam Doe-Sheriff is regarded as “influential” in the Armah Jallah camp.
During the Senators’ meeting at Sen. Johnson’s house, Sen. Doe-Sheriff admitted to holding a telephone conversation with the President and said she intends to support the President.
“I can’t fight the President’s interest in this matter. I respect the President's opinion on this matter and I want you guys to understand from where I speak,” Senator Doe-Sheriff declared.
Her departure will cause severe injury to the Jallah camp as their main architect and political godmother if indeed she has surrendered to the influence of the Executive.
Meanwhile, the President's latest move follows a previous report by the Daily Observer about Madam Sirleaf remitting US$50,000 to some former Senators with a mandate to ensure that Nagbe is elected Pro-Tempore. The Executive Mansion has since dismissed the allegation. But this latest pro-Nagbe drive increases the plausibility of the Observer’s earlier report.